PHOENIX — A documented member of the notorious MS-13 street gang, Matthew Moreno, was convicted on Monday for Threatening or Intimidating and Assisting a Criminal Street Gang—both are class 3 felonies.
According to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, on August 29, 2018, a Phoenix Police officer contacted Moreno on an unrelated criminal investigation. While speaking, Moreno became upset with the officer, and began cursing at him and displaying MS-13 gang signs.
Moreno asked to speak to the officer’s supervisor. A sergeant arrived and spoke with Moreno. The defendant continued flashing gang signs and took off his shirt to reveal large “MS-13” tattoos on his stomach and back, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. While talking to the sergeant, Moreno made eye contact with the initial officer and made graphically violent, threatening statements toward him. He identified himself as a member of MS-13, and indicated that he wanted to do harm to officers, that he “makes one call and that’s it,” and that his threat should be taken seriously. Moreno was then arrested. He was interviewed by gang detectives, again admitting to being a high-ranking member of MS-13 in good standing, and that he earned his tattoos putting in work for the gang.
This is the first case of a known MS-13 member prosecuted by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for a gang-motivated or gang crime. Sentencing is scheduled for September 6, 2019.